Sometimes you are asked to reshoot someone else’s work and in the case of a recent infomercial, this is what I was asked to do. The first question you have to ask is why am I reshooting and what needs to change? I want to be clear that in no way was the previous work flawed in any technical manner. It was simply deemed that the approach had an inappropriate look and feel for the product they were selling. And this might be the point of this whole post: Even if the shot is a technical masterpiece it can still fail if it doesn’t convey the intended message.
For this reshoot we had to redo the product shot and some product demonstrations. This particular skin care product required an airy, feminine feel. The above screen capture is the original “before” product shot. The lighting has small pools of light which are nice but it was decided it was the wrong approach. The client argued that the above product felt a little too masculine and a bit too dark. The dark wood surface, dark objects, and even the dark background only hinder by absorbing even more light making it feel darker than it actually was! I knew lighting it brighter was only going to take me so far because what this product shot really needed was a serious art direction rethink. Infomercials are notorious for making groupings of related objects and placing them around the product. To me, it doesn’t make much sense doing this because everything comes off feeling very “placed” looking.
In contrast, look at the screen capture of the “After” fix above. Here, one of the most contrasting aspects of the product shot is indeed the brightness level. We made it brighter by using larger sources of light and more fill. The product components are still grouped in a similar way but notice the lack of thematically related “clutter” surrounding the product. Instead, the product can stand out for itself while the art direction plays a supporting role and comes off feeling as if it was maybe part of another room or boudoir in the background. The background is also shot against white as opposed to black furthering the intended feel. The surfaces and colour palette of the furniture have also been lightened and brightened. In the end both versions look nice and are technically sound, yet I personally think the “fixed” shot conveys a more feminine feel.
A photo taken off the monitor of some of the product demonstrations we were doing. We shot these in studio and built a very simple but effective set to compliment the art direction of the product shots.
Director: Christopher Gentile. Art Direction: Pina Laberto.